Issues
Headspace


2.5
average

Review

by ZachNyeScienceGuy USER (19 Reviews)
May 18th, 2016 | 131 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Taking steps forward, back, left, right…. Actually, I have no idea where we’re going anymore.

Have you ever wondered what the creative processes for some musicians are" Sometimes artists like to sneak in certain influences in their music in order to differentiate their sound and albums. With a critical ear, we can often hear different sorts of inspirations from other facets of music in the artists that we follow. The revival and use of 80’s style pop music in a number of modern, mainstream musicians is a good example of this. With the post-hardcore band Issues’ second studio album, Headspace , their implementation of outside influences is a little too obvious. In fact, it’s a bit baffling as to how they came to some of their musical decisions.

Instead of focusing on one genre to draw inspiration from, Headspace presents itself as this widespread celebration of a number of genres of music. This can be seen in nearly every track on the album. “Flojo” is a song heavily influenced by Swing and Ska music, “Yung & Dum” is coated in flavors of Country, and “Rank Rider” is influenced by Blues and Soul. This album has a very wide sound palette and some of these ideas work very well, others have a tendency to fall flat.

On Headspace , Issues show that something different doesn’t equal something good, but they also show that something different has the potential to be something great. The best example of both of these aspects of Headspace are represented in the track “Blue Wall,” a song that opens up with this uninspired and empty guitar chugging that permeates the entire song, but occasionally bleeds into a jazzy guitar verse that seems like it’d fit on a James Bond soundtrack.

For every innovative and unique thing Issues do, they decide to bog it down with this edgy, bottomed-tuned guitar chugging. All of the metalcore and post-hardcore portions of Headspace are monotonous palm-muted breakdowns that are indistinguishable between each song. For the sheer amount of genre variance and exploration Issues works with on Headspace, it’s ironic that they don’t do anything to experiment with the genre of music that they do identify with. Some more inventive guitar work and a lack of generic post-hardcore tropes could have broken up the empty points of the record.

The best songs on this album are the ones that minimize the metalcore foundation the band has pioneered itself on, or try to reinvent it in a new way. Take “Flojo” for example, this song uses low tuned guitar string bending to try to mimic a refrain on a 1930’s swing song and the result is an interesting novelty and experiment with musical genres. The same could be said about the songs “Rank Rider” and “Hero” which try to implement Soul and RnB into their key sound and these songs are a more refreshing portion of the record.

The worst songs on the record, consequently, are also the ones that try to do something different but to no avail. “Yung & Dum,” in example, is a song that tries to implement this blend of pop-punk, metalcore and country music and the result is as garish and cringeworthy as it sounds. It even features a cheesy, contrived country local laden verse to boot. Ideas like this are hard to swallow or take seriously and they feel more gimmicky than they do genuine.

In Issues' attempt to minimize their post-hardcore sound, they also reduce the amount of time vocalist Michael Bohn spends screaming. He instead spends a decent amount of Headspace acting as second singer to Tyler Carter and that new role is an odd one. His singing voice is raspy and punk influenced, but it also isn’t anywhere near as good as Carter's. Sometimes this new dynamic of the two vocalists works, like in the song “Home Soon,” but more often than not it feels like an attempt to just give Bohn more playtime on the record, even if it isn’t necessary.

Lyrically this album falls into 3 different categories. At times it can seem like a poem written by an angsty 14 year-old, like in the song “Someone Who Does:”

For the grudges of all the nights you didn’t tuck us into bed
Never showing up to my games
Never taking us to arcades
Seems like nothing has changed
When you don’t show up for my shows


Sometimes there are these wannabe tough guy lines like: In the desert heat on my grind while you’re wasting my skrilla or You’re talking that *** and you blowing that smoke,
But your card got declined at the nightclub.


Other times Issues gives some solid writing, like on the song “Hero,” which presents itself as this anthem against figures who deitize themselves for profit:

Pray to these fake relatable gods
Pay them for attention till they get off
Fake, fake it till you make
Enough to buy some faith from who
Is dumb enough to pray to you



Overall, Headspace is a hit-or-miss album. It’s a record that bites off more than it can chew with it’s influences. It’s also a record that doesn’t show any maturity or experimentation with the genre of music that it's accustomed to. Issues spend a majority of Headspace being a gimmick. They let their influences consume their identity and sound. In attempt to be different, Issues forget what makes their own genre of music special.



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user ratings (223)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
Shamus248 (4)
This album was honestly a pleasant surprise....

JacobMGreenia76 (3.5)
Issues' allergy to genre conformity helps them stand out from their peers without compromising their...

William21 (1.5)
Another Issues album, another failure....

BlackDragon998 (1.5)
Issues has returned and put out another album that will end up being "a waste of space in our heads"...



Comments:Add a Comment 
ZachNyeScienceGuy
May 18th 2016


149 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Stream it here:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLKcGEIO7V0rWWMgrbrMoFuIerevNfL_zV&v=bSFHfXqhL6w



Buy it here:



https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/headspace/id1094273185

MarsKid
May 18th 2016


5655 Comments


I like what you have written, but it's really long too. The best thing I would recommend is to try and trim it down and make it more concise.

Regardless, this is a good review. Probably will not check this, sounds like a mess.

ZachNyeScienceGuy
May 18th 2016


149 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks for the feedback! Duly noted. There was a lot to talk about with this record and I ended up cutting some of the parts that I didn't think would fit in the review anyway. I guess I should have cut more.

Ebola
May 18th 2016


2871 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, sums up pretty much what I expected the record to sound like.

Havoren94
May 18th 2016


60 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

This album fucking sucks! "Blue Wall" sounds pretty good for the most part, but the rest of it is either forgettable or fucking shit!



Fuck this band, they sounded better in their debut and EP.

Sinternet
May 18th 2016


15050 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Their debut and ep were also shit

Digging: TWICE - Twicetagram

Havoren94
May 18th 2016


60 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

"Their debut and ep were also shit"



Got to disagree with you there, but whatever! I found those releases fun and catchy, this new album is just boring and monotonous.

SimpleM
May 18th 2016


108 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah this is bad. and I actually liked their debut somewhat

Snide
May 18th 2016


7050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Really, really tempted to review this.

TheMrAlexK
May 18th 2016


8886 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Album needs a positive review do it.

Snide
May 18th 2016


7050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is honestly one of the most solid metalcore releases of the year.



- Giving Michael vocal time added another dynamic to the music, and his raspy voice provided a much needed contrast to Tyler's smoother voice. Even though Michael isn't anywhere near as good as Tyler, he does just enough and is just good enough to get the effect that this record pulls off so well.



- One of the best produced records this year, by far; the guitar tone is fantastic and everything sits in the mix perfectly.



- I will agree about some of the lyricism being contrived, but not to the extent of this interview.



- Honestly I love "Yung & Dum", the fiddle works so well with the rest of the music. Also the reason that there's a literal country verse is because they got a country vocalist to feature on that song. I also don't hear much pop punk in it at all.



- The bass work is fucking fantastic and one of the standouts of this record, which is almost unheard of in metalcore.



- Tyler's vocals are top notch as always.

TheMrAlexK
May 18th 2016


8886 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Tbh I'm not digging this as much as I was hoping to so far, but it's definitely not 1/1.5 worthy. The Realest is probably a top 5 Issues song but aside from that there's really no other standouts on here.

Snide
May 18th 2016


7050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Flojo is such a jam.

TheMrAlexK
May 18th 2016


8886 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Flojo is definitely one of the better tracks yeah. But there was actually some hype for it on here so I was kind of left disappointed.



Sadly had to give this a 3, slight disappointed after how great The Realest was.

ZachNyeScienceGuy
May 18th 2016


149 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I don't think this album is that well produced. The drums and cymbal crashing drown out the sound of a lot of the other instruments and I can barely tell what Bohn says most of the time because he's so muddled in the mix.



I definitely don't think this album deserves all of the 1s it's getting, but I also don't think it's very good.

TooManyFriends
May 18th 2016


2539 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this band on paper is so garbage but i really do like some of these songs. strange dynamic

ChubbyEwok
May 18th 2016


57 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

About to listen to this, thought their debut was alright so I'm interested to hear how this sounds.

AndreBourbeau
May 18th 2016


64 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i'm really digging this album tbh

unaMUSEd
May 18th 2016


1441 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Everyone says that they fail to be creative and experiment but I can't think of another band that melds R&B and metalcore like these guys. What gives?

JigglyPDiddy
May 18th 2016


3234 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Band's got some serious issues to deal with.

Digging: Ondatropica - Ondatropica



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